For a lot of us in Asia, we can't imagine a full blown meal without our daily satisfying staple of white, fluffy, aromatic rice. And it's not just Asia where rice is an important part of our daily grub. In the Caribbean, the grains are often mixed with beans and enjoyed. In other parts of the world too, like the United States and Middle East, rice is consumed though in moderate quantities.
The bad news is that the white refined rice that you're enjoying at lunch is probably not best for you.
It comes with higher chances of diabetes because a cup of cooked rice is almost 200 calories as starch and turns into sugar and then the consequent love handles.
Since giving up rice isn't a very pleasing option for most of us, luckily enough an undergraduate student at the College of Chemical Sciences in Sri Lanka and his mentor have been looking at how to cut down calories. The Independent came out with the story of the scientists who came up with a way to cut down calories in rice by 50 percent and even add a couple of other health benefits. It's easy to use and way healthier for our bodies.
Sudhair James explains how they got around to making the grain healthier.
"What we did is cook the rice as you normally do, but when the water is boiling, before adding the raw rice, we added coconut oil—about 3 percent of the weight of the rice you're going to cook.
Knowing your starches - the one with calories and the one without.
It's just a little to do with tweaking its chemistry. Thanks to science, research suggests that starches can be modified according to the methods of preparation of the food.
Adding Oil Before Cooking Rice And Cooling It Afterwards Resulted In 10-12% Calorie Reduction.
Dr. Pushparajah Thavarajah, a professor who is supervising the research explains,
"If you can reduce the digestible starch in something like steamed rice, you can reduce the calories.The impact could be huge."
So James and Thavarajah tested eight kinds of recipes on 38 varieties of rice found in Sri Lanka. They found that by adding a lipid, like coconut oil which is commonly used in Sri Lanka, before cooking the rice and then cooling it immediately afterwards there was up to a 10-12% reduction in calories.
"The oil interacts with the starch in rice and changes its architecture. Chilling the rice then helps foster the conversion of starches. The result is a healthier serving, even when you heat it back up."
We all know how obsessed people are with calories nowadays and with good cause; in this age obesity is a very real concern, even in kids. Keeping with this scenario, a 10 percent reduction in calorie levels is a big deal. In developing nations, where people rely heavily on this cheap staple as food, obesity due to rice is a new worry.
"Obesity has been a problem in the United States for some time. But it's becoming a problem in Asia, too. People are eating larger and larger portions of rice, which isn't good."
They are also experimenting to see if other oils could be used as alternatives to coconut oil such as sunflower oil.
There's reason enough to believe that the same chemistry could be applied to other fatty but yummy food.